06 March, 2008

Red Ryder Air Rifle BB Gun -- Coolest Basement Find Ever

Quick, do you know who this is?

Image courtesy Exposay.com

I completely didn't recognize him in the 2006 Jennifer Aniston / Vince Vaughn movie The Break-Up, which he also produced. And I'm usually really, really good at this game. Ted and I will be watching some TV show or other, and I'll say "Hey, do you see that guy there? He played so-and-so in that really obscure movie we saw five years ago." And 99% of the time, I'm right. If only I could market such a skill!

Publicity still from The Break-Up, Universal Studios.

But I didn't find him even vaguely familiar, although the gorgeous baby blue eyes should have tipped me off, and maybe that's a good thing. Normally, this actor is best remembered for two roles he played as a child, and he may be tired of being reminded about them. But I'm going to do it anyway. Sorry, Peter.

As Messy Marvin in the Hershey's Syrup commercials. (Such a cutie!)

As Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story.

So, why the brief detour into movie making history, and why is Peter Billingsley on my house blog? Well, because of this:

We recently found among the junk left by the previous owners a Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time. Actually, I don't think it's the same model Peter Billingsley used—this one doesn't have a compass or a clock—but how freakin' cool is this? Wanna see a closeup?

Like millions of other Americans, I tune in to at least one showing during the annual 24-hour broadcast marathon of A Christmas Story. Along with It's a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street, and every holiday special by Rankin and Bass, even the really, really, rare only-ever-released on VHS Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, watching it is a tradition. So when we found this Red Ryder rifle in the basement, my mom and I squealed in near unison, "You'll shoot your eye out!" I can't separate thoughts of Red Ryder rifles from the movie; the two are forever linked.

So now the Red Ryder Air Rifle is hanging proudly on the wall of what will one day be my office, and will no doubt become part of our holiday decorations at Christmas along with the sexy leg lamp I plan to get eventually.


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that is Peter Billingsly! I wondered what had happened to him. I just kept staring at the eyes and feeling like I'd seen him before.

I was born in '66 and the Bass Rankin movies would make an appearance on TV once a year developing a loyal following of kiddies. Now that you brought up "Life and Adventures of Santa Claus" I'm going to have to go on a hunt for it. I have all of the others, even the bizarre "Day Dreamer".

Finding the rifle is very cool and is one of the good things about PO's who have lived in the home a long time and left things behind.

Jen said...

Cool find and good post.!!!

Marilyn said...

Great find. Would you believe "A Christmas Story" is the one Xmas movie I've never seen? My friends look at me like I'm from another planet. I guess it's time. I have, however, seen "Rudolph" about 4,000 times - doesn't that count for something?

Yes, good post, and great find. Keep looking for more cool stuff!

Gary said...

"You'll shoot your eye out with that thing!"

Jean Martha said...

Cool find!!

We bought the super-fug leg lamp for the Fiance's Mom & Dad this Christmas.

Amalie said...

I just have to chime in with the fact that I looooove Holiday Inn. Best Christmas movie ever. Beats the crap out of Danny Kaye and that White Christmas ridiculousness...

Anonymous said...

Good Job!: )

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Red Ryder BB Gun never really had a clock or a compass in the handle- that was something made up in the movie. Daisy still produces the Red Ryder model so your could be anything from 1940 to present. Earlier models had the name stamp on the left, all wooden parts, some with an aluminum lever painted black. Jack

Joanne said...

Jack, Thanks for the info! The previous owner of the house had lived here for 40+ years, having purchased it in the sixties. Their kids were in their late teens/early twenties as far as I can figure. It could have belonged to any of them, or any one of the tenants who lived here as well. The Box House was a rental property for much of its existence, so it would be hard to track down who owned the gun. Still, it's one of my favorite discoveries in the house.

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